By popular demand (from two people at the last residency), here are some writing prompts. As I’ve mentioned before, prompts are best executed in a very relaxed state. When I first started writing, I lived off of them, and some of my favorite short stories evolved from random prompts. Some are for new stories; some are to add to works in progress.
1. Add one of the following to your book in progress: something unexpected flies through the window, a character with amnesia shows up (could be a dog, or someone they know), a tree bursts through a floor, a little brother or sister gets into make-up and nail polish, and/or a secondary character wins a prize goat.
2. Start a scene in your YA or middle grade novel with a make-up fight in the locker room or bathroom, or have your characters use lipstick to write a vibrant message. Add an older relative with a foul mouth, or who likes to give people the finger, only they use the wrong finger.
3. Invent a camp for kids that has never existed before.
4. Add two characters to your piece that have disabilities, or take your characters to the Special Olympics.
5. Add three dialogue scenes about subjects that have never come up again in your story.
6. Then give two plot threads to secondary characters (See my earlier entry on monomania!).
7. To a new or ongoing project, add the following subjects: Pompeii, a cartwheel contest, birds of paradise, a reference to Moby Dick, sushi, enchiladas, and egg rolls.
8. Fill in the blanks. ________________ wants _______________, and will stop at nothing to get it/him/her, but _________________________ is in the way.
9. Write a picture book about a sad character who finds something under a rock that changes their perception.
10. Write a picture book called one of the following: Bad Berry, How the rose got her thorns, Three Elves and a Duck, or Snapping Turtle’s Diet.
Kelly Easton's novels have won many awards, among them, the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award, the ASTAL Middle School Book of the Year Award, NYPL Book For the Teen Age, Kentucky Bluegrass Masterlist (Hiroshima Dreams); an ALA Quick Pick listing, and nomination for the ABE award, 2010 (Aftershock); Atlanta parents Best Book, and NYPL Book for the Teen Age (White Magic); a Boston Author’s Club Award, Westcherster’s Choice Best Book, CCBC Best Books selection (Walking on Air); and a Golden Kite Honor, Booksense Top Ten (The Life History of a Star). Her newest book, The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes, is a Jr. Library Guild selection.
Kelly Easton is retired from the MFAC faculty.
Great list, Kelly. Your mention of writing about characters with disabilities especially rang true, as I just watched the amazing wheelchair racers here in Spokane at our Bloomsday race. They are amazing athletes and worthy of stories.